The NFL is a quarterbacks’ league. In the ultimate team sport, no individual position is more vital to their team, within their sport. Not even a pitcher in baseball is more important than the quarterback. This is why so many Super Bowls have marquee quarterback match-ups.
There have been 51 Super Bowls; with 12 of them having Hall of Fame quarterbacks leading each team: Bart Starr vs. Len Dawson, Roger Staubach vs. Bob Griese, Griese vs. Fran Tarkenton, Terry Bradshaw vs. Tarkenton, Bradshaw vs. Staubach, Ken Stabler vs. Tarkenton, Joe Montana vs. Dan Marino, Montana vs. John Elway, Troy Aikman vs. Jim Kelly, and Elway vs. Brett Favre. And, as soon as active quarterbacks like Tom Brady, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Drew Brees, and Aaron Rodgers retire and become Hall of Famers, many of the last 15 Super Bowls will be added to that list.
Although the Super Bowl has given us great match-ups through the years, there have been some match-ups that everyone assumed would happen, that just never did. As great as Jim Kelly and Joe Montana were, and as great as their teams were; they never made it to the Super Bowl against each other.
Tom Brady has been to seven Super Bowls, and has faced six opponents: (Kurt Warner, Jake Delhomme, Donovan McNabb, Russell Wilson, Matt Ryan, and Eli Manning twice). One quarterback who isn’t on that list is the one quarterback many feel is the active best quarterback in the league, Aaron Rodgers. It would be a travesty if those two number 12s never face each other in a Super Bowl, and at age 40, the ageless Brady can only have a couple more Super Bowls in him. I think.
This is the season Rodgers has to live up to his reputation and make it to his second Super Bowl. In December, he’ll be 34 years old. By any measure, Brady notwithstanding, 34 years old should be the start of a quarterback’s slide. Rodgers realistically has three to five more seasons left…Brady has fewer. This is the year! Many publications are predicting a Patriots-Packers Super Bowl, and I agree. Maybe it’s wishful thinking because I want to see that match-up, but aside from wanting it to happen; it NEEDS to happen.
It needs to happen on many levels; with Peyton Manning retired, Brady vs. Rodgers is the premier quarterback match-up in the game. Other than a rematch with Eli Manning, Russell Wilson, or Matt Ryan, there wouldn’t be a more compelling Super Bowl. And, for Rodgers’ own legacy, he needs a second Super Bowl appearance. Without it, he simply becomes no more than Drew Brees; a good quarterback who compiled some great numbers and had some great seasons, but can never be considered one of the all time greats. Let’s face it, four of his contemporaries, Wilson, Roethlisberger, and both Manning brothers, have all been to multiple Super Bowls.
I have to believe that Rodgers has another Super Bowl season in him. He is still in his prime. He has great team behind him. He is in weak division. Everything points towards a run to the Super Bowl. And although it’s no guarantee the Patriots will be there waiting for Rodgers and the Packers, it would sure make for an entertaining couple of weeks leading up to the game, with what should culminate in a very entertaining match-up. Will the old lion prevail, or will the torch be passed to the younger, more athletic Rodgers? It would be fascinating to witness.
With seven Super Bowl appearances, Brady has nothing left to prove, and the odds say he’ll probably be playing in his eighth next February. It is up to Rodgers to live up to his end of the bargain, and get to his second Super Bowl. I think this is the year he will. For his sake, I hope he does; it is events like the Super Bowl which make careers and legacies, and although I wouldn’t quite say it’s now or never for Rodgers, all of a sudden he’s in his mid 30s, and there’s a new batch of young QBs coming up.
Let’s all root for a Brady vs. Rodgers Super Bowl in February.
Follow me on twitter @camcamelot